doc - Project EnRoLE

This role play description is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.5 Australia License
Developed as a mixed mode activity, KATALONIA is a team-based
task-focused experience-based opportunity for students to review their
capabilities and align them with present and future work and goals.
Participants work in small teams to document in a formal and highly
structured format their response to a ‘Request for Tender’ for
provision of Trainer Training programs to deliver adult learning
programs in a government department in a fictional developing
country (‘Katalonia). They create and adopt the perspective of a
professional consulting organization. Team members collaboratively
define and individually adopt assigned ‘roles’ identified as essential to
such an entity and important for wining the tender. Teams make a
formal presentation to an Assessment Panel of Experts who are not
known to the students.
Simulation; Immersive learning;
Reflective practice; Professional
Development; Project
Management; Adult learning
CONTACT in Project EnRoLE
Dr. Elyssebeth Leigh,
University of Technology Sydney
KATALONIA assigns participants to a team (number of teams
determined by class size with a minimum of 3 teams required)
representing staff of a fictional consulting firm. Each team works
best with five to seven members; therefore the minimum number of
players is 15. Multiple groups - each of 15-20 participants - can be
managed online.
Map of
KATALONIA can be used with adult educators, managers, learning
and development specialists and both undergraduate and post
graduate students. It is most effective in academic contexts where
The fictional nation of Katalonia
the intent is to generate a ‘reality-based’ experience of working to
deadlines, defining individual and team responsibilities, researching client needs and context, developing
appropriate responses to ill-defined but potentially rewarding work goals etc.
Participants learn to re-define and locate their present (and possible future) capabilities within current workrelated contexts. There are opportunities for appreciating how differing skills, knowledge and values can be
combined to create effective team approaches to complex tasks. They gain insights into the importance of
understanding how personal values, work conditions, legal and physical requirements and ‘bottom line’
financial objectives all influence the eventual nature of learning design and shape appropriate responses to
unfamiliar work-based needs.
The knowledge focus of KATALONIA is the development of skills based learning programs for staff
nominated for appointment as Learning and Development specialists in a Government Department in a
foreign country where different cultural, religious, and economic conditions apply. This scenario can be
varied to suit quite diverse contexts. Essential elements are i) use of multiple teams all representing variants
of one stakeholder group with competing/collaborative values and priorities; ii) focus on internal team-based
negotiated collaboration to achieve externally driven gaols; iii) understanding the nature of the specified
context and its particular needs; iv) managing the complexity of applying current skills and knowledge in an
unknown and unfamiliar context and set of requirements.
KATALONIA- as presently managed - involves three blocks of face-to-face team work and variable amounts
(determined by the teams in their planning phase) of online interaction. As presently constructed for blended
delivery, KATALONIA requires a minimum of about 20 hours of team activity (allocated over a semester). It
can be adapted for any Learning Management System (LMS). The face-to-face activity requires a room with a
flat floor and easily moveable furniture, as well as break-out spaces for small team work. Adaptation for fully
online delivery may be possible.
The original KATALONIA materials are available from or At present the online version is situated within the LMS at UTS. Access is
available on request.
Minimum online support requirements are discussion board and document exchange facilities,
synchronous and asynchronous chat and email. It is useful to keep in mind that KATALONIA
evolved from an activity using face-to-face role play.
For the face to face sessions, allow enough space for both small and large group activity. The formal
presentation of proposals and debriefing can occur at both the level of team groups and whole class.
The resource kit contains a modified version of an actual call for tenders. It includes a detailed profile of the
fictional country of Katalonia, complete with map. Documents in the kit are very specific in regard to what is
required but deliberately less than fully helpful in guiding the teams. That is, they are no more than the usual
set of complex documents provided to consultants.
Each team takes its own path; working out how to allocate tasks, complete the sequences of activities within
the given time frames while staying focused as a team.
Teams arrange their own schedule of meetings between attendance periods and refine their understanding and
expression of their stated goals, including preparation a complete set of tender documents and a formal
presentation to the Review Panel.
KATALONIA creates a quite stressful environment in which the external goal of achieving on time
completion of the tasks is counter-balanced by the strength of the team (or otherwise). The debriefing process
focuses on a range of professional development concepts, including teamwork; learning together; learning
about other cultures and teaching/learning goals and purposes; developing understanding of how to identify
and meet client needs from a distance; how to prepare budgets and project plans and training programs - and
how to be prepared for the unexpected.
The facilitator must remain separate from the process – avoiding giving answers to questions about the
mysterious KATALONIA. At the beginning of the process, groups may have quite different levels of
awareness about the complexity of their task. Because of this the facilitator may need to ask (but never
answer) guiding questions. As the teams develop answers to these hypothetical questions they develop
appropriate directions for their team and project development. Such questions are used sparingly and only
when it is clear that a group is losing track of their goals and purposes or are stuck on minor issues. A good
eye for timing and a strong sense of equity is also important. Knowledge of the subject content is vital to
assess the viability of proposed decisions and funding requests, and in this regard KATALONIA can be
adjusted to address a number of content areas.
The KATALONIA role play can be customised to suit a variety of contexts in which multiple parties must
learn to negotiate agreement among objective, and/or emotionally charged, differences in perspectives and
desired goals.
Leigh, E. (2003). A practitioner researcher perspective on facilitating an open, infinite, chaordic simulation. Ed D, University of Technology, Sydney